Recorded at Western Recorders, Los Angeles, CA, October 14, 1965 (1); recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 10, 1965 (3) and June 16, 1965 (2).
Digitally remastered from the original stereo master tapes.
This LP, whose contents have been reissued in different sets on CD, features John Coltrane in two different settings. "Vigil" and the spiritual ballad "Welcome" showcase tenor saxophonist Coltrane with his classic quartet (pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones) in June 1965. Dating from October 14, 1965, it adds tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, Donald Garrett on bass clarinet and second bass, second drummer Frank Butler, and percussionist-vocalist Juno Lewis to the quartet and is a bit of an oddity. Lewis' chanting and colorful percussion make this a unique if not essential entry in Coltrane's discography. It was re-released in 2000.
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
Juno Lewis is a drummer, a drum maker, a singer, a composer. Born in New Orleans in 1931, he is now based in Los Angeles. It was there John Coltrane met him through mutual friends, and the result was the first side of this album, which was recorded in Los Angeles.
Lewis is a proud man, proud of his tradition, as the accompanying poem makes clear. The composition "Kulu Se Mama" (or "Juno Se Mama") is described by Lewis as a ritual dedicated to his mother. Lewis's poem, elsewhere on this page, supplies the programmatic content of the piece as well as its emotional base and its emotive intentions.
I would only add that the performance is an absorbing, almost trancelike fusion of tenderness and strength, memory and pride. And fitting its ritual nature, the singing and much of the playing by the horns have the cadences of a chant. For all its length, the work has an organic totality; and at the end, there is a fulfilling sense of achievement - of a long nurtured and developed story finally being told. This, by the way, is Juno Lewis's first appearance on records. His singing is in an Afro-Creole dialect he cites as Entobes. His drums include the Juolulu, water drums, the Doom Dahka, and there are also bells and a conch shell.
As the poem makes clear, Lewis's primary present goal is the establishment of an Afro-American Art Center, "a home for the homeless, future sons of drums." He wants it to be international in scope, and proceeds from this album will go towards actualizing that dream.
The two John Coltrane compositions which make up the second side are fur- ther musical essays on Coltrane's insistent belief in the perfectibility of man. "Vigil", Coltrane points out, "implies watchfulness. Anyone trying to attain perfection is faced with various obstacles in life which tend to sidetrack him. Here, therefore, I mean watchfulness against elements that might be destructive - from within or without." Coltrane adds: "I don't try to set standards of perfection for anyone else. I do feel everyone does try to reach his better self, his full potential, and what that consists of depends on each individual. Whatever that goal is, moving toward it does require vigilance " And as the performance shows that vigilance is not without its tensions. Listening to Coltrane work through his own challenge may well stimulate self-confrontation in the rest of us. Each listener, of course, will himself be challenged in a different way. For many, the basic beginning will be that described by Don DeMicheal in a Down Beat review of Coltrane: "This music. . opens up a part of myself that normally is tightly closed, and seldom-recognized feelings, emotions, thoughts well up from the opened door and sear my consciousness." "Welcome", Coltrane explains, "is that feeling you have when you finally do reach an awareness, an understanding which you have earned through struggle. It is a feeling of peace. A welcome feeling of peace." And accordingly, the performance is serene. Temporarily serene, for in Coltrane's view of man in the world, there are always further stages to work your way toward. The striving is ceaseless. It is not striving in competition with others, but rather a striving within the self to discover how much more aware one can become.